YOU see it everywhere, developments that cater to the rich while excluding the poor. Whether it is the redevelopment of Cape Town’s Waterfront by a DUBAI leisure company to make way for tourists; the fencing off of a public beach in Knysna to benefit private landowners; the introduction of an elitist transport system — the so-called Gautrain in Gauteng, to serve World Cup honchos; the creation of golf courses and gated suburbs for the rich and elderly with trust funds, on the East Coast; or the exclusion of operator calls and universal service on cellphone networks to increase consumer spend; the destruction of the global commons is proceeding apace.
Laisazze Faire capitalism has created a particular logic, and with it the schizophrenia of development that caters for the wealthy while excluding the poor. Without equal opportunity, ordinary South African citizens are at the mercy of corporations and the fascism of the market. Without a welfare state, there is very little connecting the very rich and the very poor. What have South African’s in common with each other, except the insane propaganda dispensed on a daily basis, from a public broadcaster that caters solely to advertising revenues and ignores the prerogative of licence-holders who demand content that is not biased and is free of corporate-political and party-political sponsorship?
South Africa has become a land, a nation whose only ideology is the marketplace, and whose only destination is the enslavement of the majority to the currency, Rands, Euros, Pounds or Dollars, it makes no difference, in South Africa, cash is king, and borrowed money speaks louder than votes. Our debates have become trammeled by corrupt politicians, and the exploitation of our nation’s resources continues apace. Public forests are being cut down for short-term profits. Citizens have little in common except a tale of woe.
Without the global commons, there is nothing linking one nation to another. Without common land, universal service, equal rights, there is no point to the present economic system except the exploitation of the masses by the few who make promises they cannot keep, then manage to get elected despite the system and often sell-out the masses to large corporations for a quick buck.
Without common land, universal services, access to basic amenities, we have nothing but oligarchies, party-mafia bosses, organised crime, capitalist monopolies, and political factions. The disturbing result, based upon perpetual conflict and competition over scarce resources, is not balanced out by special interest groups, in a democracy that happens once every five years. We must therefore, put a stop to unfair competition, unequal resources, separate amenities, and demand equal opportunity, and access to public amenities, to keep the commons alive.
If our demands are not considered worthy enough, we must make those in power consider the possibility of armed conflict and struggle by the global commons for the rights contained in the Universal Declaration of Human Rights — rights that are not simply dispatched or done away with by the apparent limitations in our constitution and ten-year-old Bill of Rights.